Daily Archives: May 16, 2011

Just a Few Seconds: A Story from the Hidden World of Music and Beyond by Nemo James

Just a Few SecondsReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

The autobiographies of famous rock & roll icons like Nikki Sixx, Sammy Hagar, Ozzie Osbourne and Patti Smith make for some very fascinating reading. But, what about the lives of the other members of various bands, which may/may not hit the Big Time in such an explosive way? Just A Few Seconds by Nemo James is an autobiography that is captivating, written with an ironic and witty sense of humor, and though the author never became as well-known as someone like Eric Clapton or Jim Morrison, his life story is a very interesting and engaging one, indeed. This book is proof that the lives of the members of bands who never quite hit the Big Time for whatever combination of reasons, or who are largely itinerant musicians, going from one band to another, are often also well worth reading about.

Most guys and many teen girls have had dreams growing up in the 1960’s and even now of becoming someone famous, like an athlete with tons of endorsement deals, and actor, or a rock musician. Few have the talent and perseverance, not to mention the luck, that it takes to forge onwards to see their goals realized. Sometimes, though, it all works out for the best, and one can at least have a taste of the glory, a slice of the pie, a glimpse of what it’s like to be one of the elite in one’s field, and can enjoy a quite pleasant retirement with many memories and anecdotes. That’s what Nemo James’ life as he writes about it in Just A Few Seconds is about. His autobiography has already been sold out at Amazon once; perhaps ultimately, the author will become more famous for his writing skills than as a musician. As Nemo writes:

Yes, it’s been quite a journey. I failed in nearly everything I did and yet always loved life and ended up enjoying the kind of success that the rich and famous only dream about. All that effort and hard work and yet it was nothing more than blind luck that brought about my success. No amount of talent or hard work can replace luck.

The book starts with a chapter called “The End.” Why, you might ask? Just A Few Seconds is written in the first person, and the chapter is the author talking to us literally from beyond the grave (though he’s of course today quite alive & well), and he’s wondering such things as if he’s getting a big turn out for his funeral, and how many times the church bell is tolling for him. He tries to think of it as not really an ending, but a “new beginning.” This is how he approached every setback in his life, as we’ll learn as we read, so why not act the same way about one’s afterlife? The rest of the autobiography is fairly linear, though the final chapter is titled “The Middle.”